Joseph Mallord William Turner

Verses (Inscriptions by Turner)

c.1808

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 115 x 76 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D06828
Turner Bequest CII 54

Catalogue entry

See Introduction to the sketchbook and note to folio 48 (D06814) for the discrepancy between the current folio number and Finberg’s. For the longer draft poems to which Turner’s verses belong, see Introduction to the sketchbook. Finberg did not transcribe the verses on this leaf, and the reading given here was made by Rosalind Mallord Turner for the 1990 Tate exhibition:
He caught the truth of Nature & her dyes
Thompson lone tomb seen wet with tears
Since Pope’s remains were lowerd to the ground
that the memory [?softens] worth oer its tears
Let that in thy Eye be found
Season and now show T[wickenham] glade
The Past reed and Eol[ian] harp unstrung
is the harmony that [?friends made]
Sunk in plains of chequered shade
And Thames willows [?gurgled] as the[y] sing
Inspiring Spring her renovating fire
With pleased bind those reeds Alex[is] play’d
With pleasure breathing kiss touch the Lyre
These lines contain further meditations on the tombs of the poets James Thomson and Alexander Pope, the Aeolian harp associated with the former and the latter’s poetic lyre. For variants of this passage, see folios 13 verso and 14 (D06746, D06747).
This leaf also has a slight continuation of the sketch of the Thames at Greenwich on folio 54 verso (D06827).

David Blayney Brown
March 2007

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